Guess where I met Liz? When I first got to know this delightful tweet-addict she read avidly and reviewed pretty much everything she read on Amazon and Goodreads. This is brilliant, but what’s even better is that last month she launched her own book blog, Liz Loves Books. Liz is incredibly vocal and passionate about the authors she loves and all things literary, so it seemed only natural that I would seek her thoughts on book blogging and reviewing. Here’s what she had to say:
So I finally got my website up and running. With a lot of blood sweat and tears, I can now finally blog about the books I love, point people towards things I think they will enjoy and generally try and get my love of reading over to the world. With the help of Twitter and Facebook the world really is my oyster.
So how have I been finding it? Well its interesting I have to say. I’ve always had my favourite genres but I have also always been willing to read ANYTHING if someone tells me its GOOD. Now of course, I’m in a position to be able to be the person saying whether its good or not, and perhaps encourage others to try something they may not dip their toes into normally. I’ve seen other bloggers get some crap thrown their way when asked for an honest review and actually GIVING one. I’ve watched some bloggers struggle with whether to give a review or not because they have not liked a book. So its all been a learning curve for me. A HUGE peeve that is in my mind, even before I started down this road proper was those authors who seem to expect you to love their book just because. Its been around a bit – on Facebook and Twitter – really quite nasty comments aimed at a reviewer who has honestly said they think the book is, well, rubbish. Some books ARE rubbish. Some books will be loved my many and hated by a few and vice versa. Readers are funny creatures you know. They love what they love and they get annoyed if a book is badly written or just plain bad…me I’ve been known to send a book sailing out of the window in disgust at the pure drivel inside it. One particularly popular novel ended up soaked and covered in bird droppings in my garden until one of my friends finally disposed of it into the bin. So, its all in the eye of the reader.
My personal opinion. When an author or publicist is looking for a reviewer/blogger to advance read a copy of an upcoming novel they should pick carefully. Most bloggers, including myself, put information on their sites about the books they tend to enjoy. If a blogger says they only really like Crime Fiction what is the POINT of sending them a self help book or a romance novel. But it happens. I’ve had some strange requests and I’ve only just started. Because of the fact that I’ve been watching what happens I have been more prepared to turn people away – so I am ONLY reading the books I’m fairly convinced I will like and be able to give a good review to. Of course there will still be those I receive that DON’T speak to me, but hey, thats life. I’m doing MY best to ensure that everyone is happy with the result, hence why on my website there is so far only one bad review. Some of the books reviewed – The Humans for example by the incredible Matt Haig – are NOT in my immediate comfort zone but they sounded interesting so I read them anyway. But thats me. SOME bloggers really DO only want to read a certain type of novel and most of them say so quite clearly in their reviewing policy. So authors. READ their reviewing policy. And don’t get on your high horse if after a reviewer says they didnt like your book you suddenly feel hard done by. The next reviewer may love it. I may love it – I love lots of things!
So, how many books can I handle? Well I’m a fast reader. Anyone who has already been following me on Twitter and Goodreads prior to my site going live know that I read an awful lot of books in a very short time. Thats just me. So before I started promoting my site I thought long and hard about how many books I would accept, should the requests come, within any given period. I can, when life allows, read a book a day – sometimes more. But if I allow for the fact that I’m also a full time single mother with two little boys, I know that in reality that number is less. So I will only accept 5 requests at a time – because I WANT to read other stuff as well, not just ones that I am doing by request – and I am REALLY on board with the idea that if you are going to accept a reading request you should be able to give it full concentration and do your very best for the author concerned. Because we SHOULD be promoting the great reads. We SHOULD be promoting those authors who have real talent whether they be mainstream or Indie.
I have had a lot of requests, many more than I was actually expecting. And I’ve turned most of them down. So if I have agreed to read your book – be reassured. Its because I WANT to read it. Because I’m reasonably convinced I will like it enough to actually give you a great review and some decent promotion. Whether its in my immediate comfort zone as stated on my site or not. I THINK about it. Because much as it is the responsibility of the author/publicist to try and get the advance copies out to the right people it is JUST AS MUCH my responsibility to only accept what I can handle realistically and what I think I will enjoy.
Happy reading folks!
Follow Liz on Twitter for witty and insightful comments or check out her website for all the latest book reviews. Tomorrow will be the turn of Amy Bookworm to tell us what she loves and hates about book blogging.